Friday, April 24, 2015

Rustic Bread

Rustic Bread
makes 2 10 by 6-inch loaves

                                                                               prep time:  2 hours 20 minutes
                                                                               bake time:    30 minutes
                                                                               total time:  2 hours 50 minutes


for the sponge:

1 teaspoon instant (rapid-rise) yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup water, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour

for the dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon instant (rapid-rise) yeast
¾ cup water, at room temperature
¼ cup whole or 2% milk, at room temperature


create a sponge: 

Combine the yeast, honey and water in a 1 cup measuring cup.  Place the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer, add the yeast/honey/water mixture and turn on the mixer on low, stir until a uniform mass forms. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

create the bread dough:

Add the dough ingredients (flour, salt, yeast, water and milk) into the bowl your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. 

Begin by mixing on low speed until the sponge and the dough ingredients are combined and a soft dough forms, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. 

Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough becomes a uniform mass that collects on the dough hooks and pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is  smooth and shiny (the dough will be very sticky), about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a large lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

first knead of the dough:

Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by folding the dough over itself and folding the edge of the dough toward the middle. Turn the dough 90° and repeat the fold. Turn the dough and repeat the folding/kneading 6 more times (for a total of 8 times).
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

second knead of the dough:

Repeat the kneading as in the first knead step.  Replace the plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

preheat your oven:

One hour before baking, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, place a baking stone on the rack and preheat the oven to 450° F.

prepare the loaves:

Cut two 12 x 6-inch pieces of parchment paper and place them on a cookie sheet,  dust both liberally with flour. 

Carefully transfer the dough to a floured work surface, taking care to deflate it as little as possible. 

Liberally flour the top of the dough and divide it in half with a bench scraper. Turn one of the dough halves cut-side-up and dust it with flour. 

With well-floured hands, press this half into a rough 12 x 6-inch rectangle. Fold the shorter sides of the dough toward center, overlapping them like you would fold a piece of paper in thirds, to form a 7 x 4-inch rectangle. Repeat this process with the second piece of dough.

Gently transfer each loaf, seam-side-down, to the parchment sheets, dust with flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the loaves to proof at room temperature for 30 minutes (the surface of the loaves should develop small bubbles).

bake the ciabatta loaves:

Carefully slide the pieces of parchment with the loaves on them onto a pizza peel.
Using floured fingertips, form the loaves, by pressing them, into 10 x 6-inch rectangles; spray the loaves lightly with water. 

Slides the loaves still on the parchment onto the baking stone. 

Bake, spraying the loaves with water twice more during the first 5 minutes of baking time, until the crust is deep golden brown, about 22 to 27 minutes.

cool the loaves and serve:

Transfer the freshly baked loaves to a wire rack, discarding the parchment, and let cool to room temperature for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. 

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